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Baltimore Album Quilt

About 1848

Made for Betsey Hobbs Harper (b. ca. 1810) and William Harper (b. ca. 1804)

95 in. W x 97.75 in. L; 16 in. square blocks
12-16 stitches per inch

Gift of Catherine T. Winter


Baltimore, Ward 14, Maryland

Baltimore, Ward 14, Maryland


This quilt combines several Album styles in its blocks, including two Mary Simon-style blocks (fruit compote on left and upside-down flower vase on right). Also included are several homemade blocks original to their makers (as opposed to ones commercially available).


Baltimore Albums, made by women, often were made for men or in testament to men’s organizations, such as the Freemasons. This Album commemorates the beginnings of Baltimore’s labor movement. Many squares are signed by men who were shoemakers and printers, trades forming the first Baltimore labor unions. The center heart is signed by Alexander I.W. Jackson, an early labor organizer.

The center inscription quotes President Andrew Jackson (no relation to the Baltimore Jackson): “The blessings of government, like the dews of heaven, should be equally dispersed on the rich and the poor.”


Block-printed, roller-printed, solid, and twill weave cottons; embroidery; inked inscriptions; cotton filling, stuffing, and backing

The calico prints rolling off the mechanized looms in the cotton mills, some located near Baltimore, are combined with solid colors, as we commonly see in Album quilts.